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Buying Guides

12 Watches To Wear In The Year Of The Rabbit

By Randy Lai
13 Jan 2023
9 min read

In our latest Buying Guide, we celebrate the momentous arrival of the Year of the Water Rabbit with a look at the 12 traditional animal signs – and the timepiece most befitting each

With Christmas done and dusted, and 2022 now firmly in the rearview, we’re turning our attention to that other massive holiday for many of us in the Wristcheck community - Chinese New Year. As members of East Asia’s sprawling diaspora communities - everywhere from North America to Southeast Asia - well know, a huge part of each New Year’s lunar festivities centres upon sheng xiao (生肖) a.k.a. the Zodiac scheme: consisting of animal signs whose names and archetypal personality traits are assigned to each year in a 12-year cycle. 

Of course, that is a massive oversimplification - one that doesn’t even begin to explain the connection to China’s ancient lunisolar calendar and the complementary role of the ‘Five Elements’ (五行). But since we’re hardly master astrologers - and what we’re really here to do is have some fun with a well-documented aspect of trad Chinese culture - let’s just say we’ve taken each of the 12 animal signs and aligned them with watches on the website (all currently available) which we’d wager offer heavenly compatibility. 

2023 marks the Year of the Rabbit - or ‘Water Rabbit’, if you wanna be really precise and, as such, cultured readers might notice we’ve tinkered ever so slightly with the order of the usual 12-year cycle (the rabbit is traditionally fourth). That aside, we encourage you to scroll through and find your own Zodiac sign - helpfully indicated with the corresponding birth year - and see what you think about our animal and watch pairings. Think of them as a guide, rather than a textbook! 

Rabbit

(1927/1939/1951/1963/1975/1987/1999/2011) 

Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph 

 

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Patient, big-hearted personalities who are adept at playing the role of moderator - at home, in the office and anywhere else besides - Rabbit individuals have a lot to look forward to in the early days of their namesake year. It’s advisable to make spending time with close friends and proven allies a priority: after all, you’ve never been one for empty hobnobbing. 

For those Rabbit individuals who’ve made prudent investments, there’s a strong possibility these will bear fruit at the beginning of this year. Assuming you’re one such wascally wabbit, consider treating yourself to a Ref. 5930. Part of Patek Philippe’s industry-leading collection of Worldtimers, this model was the first to incorporate a flyback chronograph mechanism - a fun addition for fleet-footed Rabbits who are, in all likelihood, forever pressed for time while solving others’ problems. 
 

Rat

(1912/1924/1936/1948/1960/1972/1984/1996/2008/2020)

Tudor Black Bay 58 Bronze

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Like the adorable little rodents for which they’re named, individuals born in the Year of the Rat are industrious, clever and adaptable to change. For Rat individuals, your talent for making the best of a fluid situation will likely serve you well at the outset of 2023 - especially since there’s a good chance you can expect significant changes on the homefront (maybe a new purchase, lease, or just even fresh statement furniture).

Talking in superlatives, the Rat’s canny intelligence also means that individuals born under this Zodiac always enjoy hunting for the best deals. In other words: ‘value propositions’ like this Black Bay 58. Tudor’s best-selling ‘go anywhere, do anything’ diver is reimagined here in proprietary bronze - an earthy adaptation of what was already (pound for pound) one of the best integrated bracelet watches on the market.

Ox

(1913/1925/1937/1949/1961/1973/1985/1997/2009/2021) 

Richard Mille RM003 Ti 

 

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Calm, strong-willed and implacable, individuals born in the Year of the Ox have a tendency to embark on new tasks slowly. Yet once they hit their stride, they’re some of the best and most dependable people to have in your corner. As in New Years past, the beginning of 2023 will be a time of preparation for Ox individuals - setting up those plans, for one’s family and career, that will pay off big at a later date.

For such ‘slow burn’ types, Richard Mille’s emblematic RM003 Ti is a great companion to have on your wrist throughout the year. The 48mm titanium case is as tough as your birth year Zodiac and - by the brand’s own standards - about as easy-wearing and practical as things get: qualities all Ox people look for in daily life. 

Tiger

(1902/1914/1926/1938/1950/1962/1974/1986/1998/2010/2022)

Cartier Panthere ‘Le Cirque Animalier’

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 A wild and powerful animal sign - with strong martial connotations in both Western and Asian civilisations - the Tiger is associated with individuals who lead active, assertive lives. People born under this Zodiac often demonstrate an aptitude for professions where decisive leadership and the ability to make decisions under pressure are key; explaining why it’s commonly associated with high-functioning sorts like fund managers and members of the judiciary. 

In 2023, Tiger individuals can expect a spot of financial fortune to begin their year; and - assuming you remain sufficiently humble about your success - turn that into a year-long winning streak. To facilitate this, we suggest you spend your days wearing a watch that is vivid with horological inspiration - much like this Cartier ‘Le Cirque Animalier’. A watch that brings together the Maison’s credentials in gem-setting and enamelling, it features an officer-style cover (festooned in round diamonds and sapphires) that opens to reveal a black enamel dial - fittingly, in the image of the Tiger’s smaller, sleeker cousin.

Dragon

(1904/1916/1928/1940/1952/1964/1976/1988/2000/2012)

MB&F HM9 ‘Flow’ Ti Road Edition

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Considered as regal, lucky and intelligent as the creatures they are named for, Dragon individuals tend to be personalities who thrive at the far ends of the spectrum. Usually comfortable being the centre of attention and single-mindedly pursuing their goals, their indefatigable energy and frank (yet charming) natures make them natural-born financiers or educators.

For people born in Dragon years, it’s best to start 2023 with a clear head and general to-do list. Feng shui obsessives wager that the beginning of the year will be a time of big spendin’; and you can certainly embrace this sense of pre-destiny with gusto - by picking up the titanium cased HM9 ‘Flow’. A ‘driver’s watch’ borne out of the wild imaginings of Max Büsser, it is an expensive and highly abstract take on horological design. Untethered from conventional aesthetic norms, it sports a unique transversal case - split along two axes - that evokes the silhouette of ‘Jet Age’ vehicles. 

Snake

(1905/1917/1929/1941/1953/1965/1977/1989/2001/2013)

MB&F x Moser LM101 ‘Cosmic Green’ 

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Another Zodiac sign with occasionally unflattering connotations, the Snake is synonymous in sheng xiao with those individuals who are perceptive, intelligent and highly sociable. These ‘little dragons’ leverage their keen eye for detail and wisdom beyond years to become great academics; and are disproportionately fortunate in the task of wealth cultivation.

Despite that, 2023 is unlikely to be a jubilee year for Snake individuals: many of whom can expect a range of problems (longstanding and spontaneous) that need overcoming in the short term. Whenever you require that extra dose of motivation to work through those challenges, MB&F’s ‘Cosmic Green’ Legacy Machine is an assured choice. The entire watch is best characterised as a triumph of heart over head - a philosophy that’s plainly visible in the unique ‘inside-out’ movement architecture; and on-theme green tones of the dial. 
 

Horse

(1906/1918/1930/1942/1954/1966/1978/1990/2002/2014)

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Laptimer 

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It says a lot that, in both Eastern and Greek mythology, the ‘Five Elements’ most closely associated with stallions is that of fire. Individuals born in the Year of the Horse bring their birth year zodiac’s warmth and indomitable spirit to every aspect of life; in turn, giving them a natural affinity for sport or professions where articulate self-expression (e.g. fine art, politics, travel) is essential.

Horse individuals should be prepared to out-gallop some of the residual misfortune associated with 2022: particularly at work, where a lack of consideration for colleagues’ opinions may engender unnecessary conflict. Remaining mindful - and indeed, embracing the patience that is characteristic of your Zodiac - should prove that much easier with a Royal Oak Concept on the wrist - especially when it’s this Ref. 26221 ‘Laptimer’, originally engineered by AP to allow the timing of multiple, consecutive events. If it’s good enough for Schumacher…

Goat

(1907/1919/1931/1943/1955/1967/1979/1991/2003/2015)

Girard-Perregaux Laureato ‘Arabic Dial'

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Often miscast as timid pessimists, those born in the Year of the Goat are gentle, compassionate individuals. Predisposed to a life in the creative arts - often as painters, musicians or literati - 2023 may present a few challenges for the shy and softly spoken Goat individual. Be on the lookout for maintenance issues at home, and - in the most extreme case - don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone and embrace a change in scenery.

For these moments of upheaval - which Goat individuals mightn’t necessarily take to with ease - it pays to have something on the wrist that encourages this year’s push toward bright new beginnings. In this regard, the much-underrated Laureato sports watch from Girard-Perregaux has a lot to offer: sharing the Goat individual’s warmhearted disposition, whilst embodying all those hard-working qualities you’d expect from a robust stainless steel sports watch. Goat by name, ‘GOAT’ by nature. 
 

Monkey

(1908/1920/1932/1944/1956/1968/1980/1992/2004/2016)

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ‘China Limited Edition’

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 Known for their intelligence, enthusiasm and ineffable charm, individuals born in the Year of the Monkey have the advantage at the outset of 2023. Their natural curiosity and appetite for adventure will likely reveal invaluable opportunities at work; as well as in private life - where friendship and budding romance awaits.

For such eloquent, wide-ranging operators we reckon the Royal Oak Ref. 26609 wouldn’t go amiss. One of a very small handful of perpetual calendar references to be cased in titanium, it’ll add to your knack for making a positive, switched-on impression in the office. Plus: it’s a limited edition specific to the Chinese market - a nice little parallel to the sheng xiao scheme’s origins in ancient China. 
 

Rooster

(1909/1921/1933/1945/1957/1969/1981/1993/2005/2017)

Greubel Forsey Tourbillon ‘24 Secondes’

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In the style of that old English adage about ‘early birds getting the worm’, individuals born in the Year of the Rooster evince a talent for making plans and setting their sights far into the future. With a keen talent for perceiving others’ needs, your biggest challenge in the New Year will be saying no to new partnerships - or the overextension of old ones.

For those born in Rooster years, we consider Greubel Forsey’s Tourbillon ‘24 Secondes’ an exemplary match. Named for the duration that the eponymous regulating organ takes to complete a full rotation, the ‘24 Secondes’ is a highly dynamic and forward-thinking iteration of a classic horological complication. For good measure, the right-hand case flank incorporates (in relief-engraved rose gold) the various tenets of Greubel Forsey’s manufacture philosophy: with values like ‘passion’ and ‘technique’ likely to prove poignant for the Rooster. 

Dog

(1910/1922/1934/1946/1958/1970/1982/1994/2006/2018)

Omega Speedmaster ‘Silver Snoopy Award’

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Rightfully regarded as ‘man’s best friend’, the Dog is the epitome of a loyal, forthright and courageous companion. Individuals born under this sign tend to exhibit similar traits - though their friendship is not something given freely, because of their parallel tendency towards cautiousness and introspection.

Invariably adept planners, Dog individuals should use their excellent organisational skills to navigate some of 2022’s lingering problems in the New Year. Possible pain points include illness amongst close relatives or ongoing expenses - which could have a disproportionate impact through 2023 (if not addressed early).

To see you through this bumpy start, we enthusiastically endorse the Speedmaster ‘Silver Snoopy’: an irreverent NASA-themed special edition that makes use of the Calibre 3861 chronograph movement in order to power an animation of the titular Peanuts character, as he rockets across the far side of the Moon. 

Pig

(1911/1923/1935/1947/1959/1971/1983/1995/2007/2019)

Richard Mille RM07-01 in Rose Gold

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Yet another Zodiac sign that sometimes bears its (un)fair share of negative press, the Pig - in Chinese culture - is associated with people who are kind-hearted, active and attentive in matters of career and relationships. True to their namesake, they occasionally have a tendency to overindulge, yet more often than not, this is a function of each Pig individual’s knack for enjoyment and superlative tastes.

As we head into 2023, those with the Pig sign should take extra care not to overthink some of their recurring problems. Self-sabotage is likely to be one of your bigger risks in the New Year, so we recommend you reach for a timepiece that doubles as a reminder to stop and smell the roses (in spite of all the thorny issues you’ll be working through year-round). In that vein, this gem-set RM 07-01 is a fantastic companion: neatly fitting into the Pig’s reputation for brilliant, unabashedly extravagant drip.